Wallace Survives Caution Filled Race to Finish 18th in Memphis (MEMPHIS, TN) - Memphis is home to AutoZone company headquarters, primary sponsor of the ...
Wallace Survives Caution Filled Race to Finish 18th in Memphis
(MEMPHIS, TN) - Memphis is home to AutoZone company headquarters, primary sponsor of the #22 ppc Racing Ford, and driver Kenny Wallace was hoping to win for the home team. But on Saturday afternoon the cautions came early, with the first caution flag waiving on lap 6, and often, enduring 15 cautions for 81 laps, during the Sam's Town 250 from Memphis Motorsports Park. Kenny Wallace and the #22 AutoZone team battled through adversity, survived the wrecks, and finished 18th.
"That was a crazy race," Wallace said after climbing out of the #22 AutoZone Ford on pit road. "I lost track of how many times I came around turns 3 & 4 to find the track clogged with wrecked cars. We endured a tough day with the #22 AutoZone Ford, spinning and going down a lap and the flat tire at the end of the race. At least we managed to finish on the lead lap and work our way back to an 18th place finish."
When the green flag flew to start the Sam's Town 250, Wallace quickly moved from his 28th place starting position into the top-20. The first caution came on lap 31 and the #22 AutoZone team decided to try and gain track position by only taking two right-side tires on their first pit stop. After restarting 10th, the AutoZone team quickly found out that two tires was not the way to go, as Wallace began losing positions to cars with four fresh tires.
On lap 101, while battling for the 25th position, Wallace caught the inside apron of the track coming off of turn four and spun the #22 AutoZone Ford down the frontstretch to bring out the fourth caution of the day. Although Wallace went one lap down to the leaders, he managed to keep the car off the wall and bring the #22 to the attention of the AutoZone team for fresh tires and major adjustments. Two cautions later, on lap 127, the #22 AutoZone Ford was the recipient of the "lucky dog" award, placing Wallace back on the lead lap.
For the duration of the Sam's Town 250, Wallace and the AutoZone team continued to work on the handling of the #22 Ford. Late in the race on the restart at lap 211, while running 19th, Wallace realized that he had a right-front tire slowly going down and he drifted high in turns 1 & 2. At the same time, cars wrecked down the backstretch bringing out another caution and Wallace was able to come to pit road for fresh right-side tires without losing a lap. After restarting 21st on lap 222, Wallace was able to work his way back up to 18th by the end of the race.
"We had a few weird things happen to us today," Wallace explained. "The flat tire close to the end of the race was disappointing because the car was the best it had been all day and I was moving up. Hopefully we can use the last three races of the year to get the #22 AutoZone Ford back up front and battling for wins where it belongs."
This weekend the NASCAR Busch Series will enjoy their final off-weekend of the 2005 season, and then next weekend Kenny Wallace and the AutoZone team will travel to the "Lone Star State" to race at Texas Motor Speedway. Live coverage of the O'Reilly Challenge will begin Saturday, November 5 at 2:00 p.m. ET on TNT.